Tuesday, June 06, 2023  |


Kirkland off May 2 card

Fighters Network

James Kirkland has been removed from the May 2 Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton card after a federal judge refused Friday to release him from jail in Austin, Texas, where he is being held on a federal gun charge.

Kirkland, already on probation for a 2003 armed robbery conviction, was arrested on Sunday by Austin police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco and Firearms agents after they allegedly found a loaded pistol in his car, according to ATF spokesperson Franceska Perot.

He was taken into custody by the ATF and charged Monday by a federal magistrate with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, Perot said. Kirkland, 25, will next be in court to issue his plea, although no date has been set.

Also, court documents cited by the Austin American-Statesman indicate that Kirkland’s probation officer was in the process of revoking his probation over another incident, in which the fighter allegedly threw another pistol underneath a vehicle.

He was scheduled to fight Michael Walker on the pay-per-show show from Las Vegas.

“We did what we could,” said Schaefer, referring to the detention hearing. “We even submitted a letter to the court suggesting we’d assign an off-duty police officer to stay with James at all times. We had even selected an officer. The court wasn’t moved, though. They won’t let him travel.

“The fact is he got caught buying gun with his own ID. He didn’t use it, he didn’t threaten anybody, he didn’t shoot anybody, but he bought a gun. He shouldn’t have done that. That was a really bad decision on his part.”

Kirkland, THE RING’s No. 9-rated junior middleweight, was undefeated and one the fastest-rising stars in the sport because of his brawling style. He would’ve begun to make big money had he continued to win.

Now, he’s being compared to Ike Ibeabuchi, a one-time promising heavyweight whose career was destroyed when he went to prison on battery and other charges.

“We’ll see what happens,” Schaefer said. “Hopefully he’ll get through this. We’ll definitely have him move from Austin. And I would have him sit down and have a serious conversation with (ex-convict) Bernard Hopkins, to make some changes in his life.

“Look how Bernard’s life turned out. That’ll mean more to James than hearing it from you or me.”